The 5 Best RV Campground Memberships
The quick answer is that the 5 best RV campground memberships are Passport America, Escapees RV Club, Good Sam Club, Boondockers Welcome, and Harvest Hosts. The question is which memberships are best for you and why.
So Why Join an RV Campground Membership Club?
With more and more people going camping every year campgrounds are more crowded and therefore campground fees are going up. While the average RV campground fees range from $25 to $85 per night we have seen some very popular campgrounds charge as much as $150 per night! And we think prices will continue to increase.
The chart below shows the number of overnight stays in National Parks from 2006 through 2016. Overnight stays for RVs ( the golden colored line) have increased from 2,109,404 to 2,543,221 over that period of time and we expect these numbers to increase, as well.
Why Are RV Campground Prices On The Rise?
The chart above only shows National Park stays. There are also thousands of private RV campgrounds benefiting from increased RV travel demand, as well. And since demand for RV campgrounds has increased major corporations have taken notice.
Major hotel industry companies such as Cruise Inn have started RV Park franchise networks. Hotel software companies, such as Frontdesk Anywhere are entering the RV campground industry with reservation and management software. Some manufactured housing companies have even entered the RV park industry. And we have all seen the RV Resorts such as Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park Camp Resorts popping up all over the country with premium campground prices.
This all matters because when big corporations get involved they are interested in one thing, and one thing only – profit. So, they will be finding every way possible to drive RV campground prices up. Consequently, it will allow for all other RV campgrounds to raise their prices too.
So why should you join an RV Campground membership discount club? Because it’s the best way to lower the cost of your stay in an RV campground or park. Passport America, Escapee’s RV Club, and Good Sam’s Club discounts can save you anywhere from 10% to 50% off of your campground fee at participating campgrounds. And Boondockers Welcome and Harvest Hosts memberships offer free places to stay! So let’s take a look at these membership clubs in detail to see which are the best fit for you.
A Review of All 5 RV Memberships Clubs
Our review of the 5 best RV membership clubs is in no specific order. They are all terrific clubs to join but not all of these RV clubs are for everyone. As we review all 5 of them we will recommend which ones you should join based on which type of RVer you are.
All of these membership clubs offer more than just campground discounts. So choosing a membership really depends on what your needs are as an RVer.
Passport America is a 50% Discount Camping Club with over 1,800 participating campgrounds in their discount camping network. Passport America also offers a trip routing service and has a terrific app that shows campground details such as pricing and amenities.
A really great feature is that before you decide to join you can check out all of the participating campgrounds and see current prices, discounts, amenities, pictures, and any discount restrictions. And all of this can be done right from the home page of the website. Therefore, if you have an upcoming trip planned you will be able to see before you join if you will save money or not.
Not all of the participating campgrounds give a full 50% discount. Some campgrounds do not offer club discounts during certain holidays or days of the week. And campsite duration time is usually limited to no more than a week or two. Each campground has their own rules and discount policies and they are all very easy to see as you read through the directory of campgrounds.
- Up to 50% off camping fees at participating campgrounds – saves you a ton of money the more you use it.
- Over 1800 participating campgrounds
- Easy-to-use website and mobile app with icons that easily identify campground amenities
- Pays $10 for referrals if you refer a friend
- Can pay for itself within one or two stays
- Some parks are less than desirable
- Stays can be limited by the number of days/season/day of the week
- There are no campground reviews by other members to give you a better idea of each campground. (Just use your free RVParky App for campground reviews)
- 1 Year – $44
- 2 Year – $79 ($9.00 savings)
- 3 Year – $109 ($23.00 savings)
- 5 Year – $179 ($41.00 savings)
- Lifetime – $399 (Savings are immeasurable!)
Who Would Benefit From This Membership?
Actually, anyone who RVs for more than two nights a year will break even in most cases. But before you join you should research the RV campground options in the area you want to camp. Then if you find a good campground join the membership and save some big bucks!
Like Escapees RV Club states in their logo, they are a total support network for all Rvers. Escapees offer a ton of benefits for all types for RVers from newbie to the most well traveled and Escapees members have access to many discounts and support services. They also offer in-person and online RV education classes. If you join Escapees it also includes a membership in Xscapers, a companion club for working-age RVers.
The club offers discounts of 15% to 50% off campsite fees at approximately 1000 participating campgrounds. Over 100 listings are at the full 50% off. You can also see their online directory of campgrounds that are in the program before you join.
Escapees members can benefit from four different types of RV ‘parking’ or overnight stays.
Escapees RV Park Discounts
Escapees has partnered with over 1000 commercial RV parks to offer discounts ranging from 15% to 50% off. Each campground has its own rules and limitations as to how many nights you can stay and how much of a discount you will get.
Escapees 11 Co-op Parks
These co-op parks are owned and operated by the co-op members. Some of the co-ops offer overnight and weekly campsites at low rates and some have first timer lower rates too. Please call the park you are interested in for details on whether they offer this option or not.
Escapees Rainbow Parks
Rainbow Parks offer up four types of parking: short-term, long-term, leases, and deeded lots for sale. The 7 Rainbow Parks are located in Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Missouri, New Mexico, Tennessee, and Texas. These campgrounds are more upscale and offer many amenities such as laundromats, dog parks and more.
Escapees Overnight Camping
Escapee’s Day’s End Directory is full of information and advice concerning boondocking, dry camping or other low-cost camping options for those who are budget conscious. The reviews are provided by, and available to, other Escapee members only.
- 15% – 50% off at over 1000 participating commercial parks
- Great sense of community at their parks
- Easy to use online map for searching for participating campgrounds
- Excellent RV training programs
- Discounts with Costco, Dish TV, Goodyear and more
- $5 Discount when you Join Boondockers Welcome
- $4 Discount when you join Harvest Hosts
Additional Benefits Geared Toward Full-Timers
- Job center for finding work on the road
- Mail service & domicile options (additional fee)
- RV Rallies
- Health Care Solutions Discount
- Roadside Assistance Discount
- Fulltime Families Discount
- Not specifically focused on offering deep discounts at campgrounds
- The number of participating campgrounds is limited
- The online map is not easy to use on a mobile device
- $39.95/annually for US Membership
- $49.95/annually for Canada or Mexico Membership
There is an additional $10.00 administration fee for your first year but Passport America members don’t pay the admin fee so if you’re going to join both, join Passport America first. The Escapees membership gives you access to the Escapees and Xscapers communities, as well as access to all of their other services, resources, and programs.
Who Would Benefit From This Membership?
For new RVer, Escapees is an awesome membership for helping you learn all about RVing and connect with other RVers.
Full-Time Working Age RVers
This is a great membership If you are looking for an active community, and you are of working age. The Xscapers RV community will prove to be a great way to have a sense of community while on the go.
If you plan to be in one spot for a long time, and parks are available in places that you want to see, then this can be a great deal! Especially if you want to have a great community feel in one of their Rainbow or Co-op parks.
Good Sam Club is definitely the most well known of the RV membership clubs. The Club has over 2 million members and over 2,400 participating campgrounds but they only offer a 10% campground discount. But, Good Sam Club offers a whole lot more than just campground discounts. They also offer 10% to 30% merchandise discounts at Camping World and gas and propane discounts too. We receive coupons and special promotions almost every week! For an additional cost, they also offer roadside assistance (which we carry by the way), extended service plans, tire and wheel protection, insurance and many other services, as well.
- 10% off camping fees at over 2400 participating campgrounds.
- Up to 30% savings at Camping World
- Save 5 cents off gas & 8 cents off diesel at select Pilot Flying J locations
- Receive free dump station privileges at Camping World SuperCenters that offer dump service
- Save 15% off of propane at Camping World SuperCenters
- The campground directory is available on their website which shows price range, amenities and camper reviews.
- 10% off campground fees is not very much savings
- Sometimes the Good Sam Rating is higher than the camper reviews so double check with the free app RVParky before booking
- $29 annually
- $50 for two years (You will also receive a $25 Merchandise Certificate)
- $75 for three years (You will also receive a $50 Merchandise Certificate)
Who Would Benefit From This Membership?
New RVers would benefit the most from this membership but not because of the 10% discount at participating campgrounds. The better part of the membership is the discounts you will receive for buying RV products at Camping World while you are buying products to outfit your new RV. We get coupons all the time for up to 30% off of merchandise like RV covers, winterizing kits, camp gear and the list goes on.
Boondockers Welcome is an RV club that offers places to park for overnight stays from people who own private land. They now have more than 1000 locations across North America. The idea is that Boondockers Welcome provides a website with a directory of fellow RVers who are willing to let you stay for a night or two on their property.
Even though the name is Boondockers Welcome, which gives the impression there are no hookups, many hosts are able to provide electric and water, as well. Guests are encouraged to offer the host a gift or pay a few bucks if hookups are provided. Most of the time the parking area will be right beside the property owner’s home or it will be on land that they own but do not live on.
- No Campground Fees
- No limit on how many times you can use the service but stays are usually limited to 1 or 2 nights
- The host can provide you with great information about the area where you are staying
- Members enjoy discounts on RVing related memberships and products
- If you become a host you get a 50% discount on a 1-year membership and every time a guest completes a stay at your host location, you’ll be rewarded with credit for 3 months of guest privileges
- You can make new friends
- Hosts may or may not have utilities for you to use
- Use of utilities may cost you a small fee – although I don’t really see this as a con
- There may be limits on the size of your rig
- Pets may not be allowed
- Typical stays are only 1 night
- A 1-year subscription is $30
- A 3-year subscription is $75
Who Would Benefit From This Membership?
Anyone who is traveling a long distance and needs overnight stays along the way would benefit from this membership. It’s a great way to travel almost for free. But if you want to travel cheap, get some information on the local attractions in the area and meet some interesting people then this membership is a terrific choice. It will easily pay for itself with just one or two stays.
Harvest Hosts is a network of over 600 wineries, breweries, farms and other attractions that allow RVers to spend the night for free. In exchange for your overnight stay, you purchase something from your host to help support their business. They have a website and an app to help you find the locations of your choice. The location gallery on their home page features photos of some gorgeous locations to choose from. Reviews and pictures from guests are provided for each host location, as well. Just click the link above to receive 10% off of your membership!
- Very unique camping experiences
- Save money on campgrounds
- Great way to meet locals
- Over 670 locations
- There are no hookups
- Outdoor kitchens are not allowed
- Stays are limited to one night – unless the host invites you to stay longer
- You are obligated to purchase something from the host (but you would probably buy some veggies or a bottle of wine anyway)
- $79 per year
- You are automatically set up with the auto-renew program. Just email them at any time to opt out of auto-renew.
- Harvest Hosts offers a 100% money back guarantee. They want you to be satisfied with your experience so this is a no-risk purchase.
Who Would Benefit From This Membership?
Anyone who enjoys unique camping experiences, making friends and supporting local businesses would benefit from this membership. It’s more of a break-even cost though because in exchange for your overnight stay you are encouraged to buy something for at least twenty dollars from your hosts business. But if you want to meet some interesting people, stay in some gorgeous locations and have a unique camping experience then this membership is a great choice.
Other Memberships for Full-Timers or Budget Conscience RVers to Consider
These memberships are good options for full-time RVers or budget conscience RVers who want to spend as little as possible on campground fees.
Overnight RV Parking
Overnight RV Parking is a real-time directory of over 13,000 free parking lot camping locations throughout the US and Canada, such as Walmart, Cracker Barrel Restaurants, Flying J or highway rest stops. Some of these locations allow RVers to stay the night and others do not. Overnight RV Parking’s website and app provide you with the correct information so you know the rules before you stay the night. This will help you avoid a knock on the door in the middle of the night with someone asking you to leave. We love the real-time updates and reviews that Overnight RV Parking members add to the directory to provide accurate and up to date information. The membership cost is only $24.95 a year so you will break even if you park for free for just one night. And if you click our affiliate link above you will get 3 months free! So that’s 15 months for only $24.95!
The Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks is not an RV club but if accepted your membership includes RV parking benefits. There are over 2000 Elk Lodges across the US and many offer free RV overnight parking for members. Each lodge has their own rules and prices but most overnight stays are free and many lodges have some type of hookup available. Each lodge sets their own membership fees but there is usually a $50 initiation fee and yearly dues of $50.
Not all RV campground membership clubs are for everyone. They all appeal to different kinds of RVers with differing travel needs. So the best way to evaluate which discount membership cubs are best for you is to determine which kind of RVer you are first. Once you know that you will have a better idea of which memberships will work best for you.
If you travel a lot it would probably be a great idea to have more than one membership. For example, by joining, Passport America, Harvest Hosts, and Boondockers Welcome you could slash your travel budget by hundreds or thousands of dollars.
Or if you are a newbie you might join Good Sam Club, Escapees RV Club, and Passport America to take advantage of all of the merchandise discounts available at Camping World, learning opportunities that Escapees members enjoy and discounts at campgrounds through Passport America.
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Which RV memberships do you use? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!
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